No one wants to hear, "You cannot." When I hear those words, they sound like a challenge. That has gotten me into some sticky spots! But Charles Stanley used these words in a devotion from his book, God's Purpose for Your Life, saying, "Stop to consider the truth of these statements -
You cannot make another person love you.
You cannot always have your way in every situation.
You cannot own everything you want to.
You cannot do everything perfectly every time.
You cannot persuade everybody to think the way you do."
I sat staring at this list for a while. Then, my mind began turning the statements around.
I cannot make another person love me, but I can still be loving toward them.
I cannot always have my way in every situation, but I can yield every situation to God's will.
I cannot own everything I want, but I can be content with what I have.
I cannot do everything perfectly every time, but I can learn and grow.
I cannot persuade everybody to think the way I do, but I can maintain my integrity and respect their opinion.
It's all a matter of perspective. Then, I thought -
Would I want to be able to make people love me? NO! I want love to come freely.
Would I want to have my way in every situation? NO! I'm glad God directs my steps because I make too many mistakes.
Would I want to be able to do everything perfectly every time? Sounds good, but no! Where would be the challenge and adventure?
Would I want everyone thinking exactly as I do? Probably not. That sounds boring. What would we talk about if there were only one opinion on every subject?
You cannot? Here's a portion of my list.
You cannot outgive God.
You cannot begin to mine the depth of Christ's love for you.
You cannot know the day or hour of His return.
You cannot take responsibility for the decisions of others.
You cannot imagine the beauty of heaven awaiting.
You cannot keep the Ten Commandments.
You cannot control the future.
And that's all okay because I have a God who cannot lie and cannot fail. I cannot, but He can. How wonderful!